Student engineers at the University of Sussex are gearing up for a high-octane weekend at the world’s largest student motorsport event, at Silverstone. The Sussex Racing team believe their new, lightweight racing car will propel them into the UK’s top five in the global Formula Student contest.
By replacing heavy steel with innovative ‘honeycomb’ aluminium, the team have shaved 20 per cent off the weight of the chassis alone. They have also opted for smaller wheels, bringing the total weight of the car down to around 220kg.
Speaking to Latest TV ahead of the launch event, which took place in the Attenborough Centre Creativity Zone on the University’s campus, the 2016 team’s chief engineer, Tom Westwood, said: “We’re feeling pretty confident this year. We’re aiming for the top 20 globally and we’re aiming for the top five in the UK.
“Our current progress is certainly hinting at that – we’ve made quite a few innovations this year that they’ve not used in previous years and that will help us at the event.”
The team’s project supervisor, Dick Atkins of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), said: “This is a very special moment in the lives of these students and it is a terrific advertisement for them and for the University.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, has been an avid supporter of the project for many years. He said: “This is one of the highlights of our year.
“These are exceptional people who do an amazing task in a very short space of time. This project takes people outside the classroom and gets them to do something that is real.”
This year Professor Farthing joined the students for driver training at a go-kart track, Q-Leisure, just north of Brighton.
Q-Leisure is just one of the many generous sponsors and patrons who have provided the team with money, discounts, goods and expertise. Others include Mobil 1 – the chief sponsor – and Santander.
Also supporting the team is Richard Noble, who broke the land-speed record in 1983 and plans to do so again this year in a car that aims to top 1,000mph. He has been a mentor to the students for many years.
The Formula Student competition takes place on 14-17 July at Silverstone race track.
Here’s a short video about last year’s achievements: